Jan 17, 2013 10:00pm PST
founded the church in 1954 and while the religion has been a positive, transformative experience for some, it has long been shadowed by allegations that people have been emotionally and sometimes even physically abused. >> i don't think anybody would join scientology in order to be abusiv abusive. they go into scientology because they want help. but at a deeper level, you go further and further into the church, the distortions become more and more apparent. and it's at those levels that i think scientology has lost its way. >> why do you think the church is so controversial? >> it has a history of being very vindictive and litigious. and it has a history of infiltrating the government and spying on people. and so it has created an atmosphere of fear that surrounds it. >> in the 1970s, the church launched a massive espionage effort called operation snow white because the church believed the government was collecting information damaging to the church. fall ollowing an five raid, 11 scientologies, including hubbard's wife, were convicted of entering numerous agencies and stealing documents.
Jan 17, 2013 10:00pm EST
to recognize scientology as a religion and was demanding it pay $1 billion in back taxes. after a bitter legal battle, the irs relented and granted tax exempt status. >> there will be no billion-dollar tax bill which we can't pay. there will be no more discrimination. >> i think scientology has a lot to account for because it's protected as a religion under the first amendment. it's able to get away with a lot of things. >> reporter: author lawrence wright has written a new book out today called "going clear, scientology, hollywood and the prison of belief." wright says the victory over the irs allowed scientology to build capital and power, power, he says, the church has exploited. >> what they're doing is abusing their own members, shaking them down for money, wreaking vengeance on people that disagree with them, punishing its critics and physically abusing people and holding them against their will inside the highest levels of the church. >> reporter: the church will say complaints like this come from malcontents and that they have no credibility. do they seem credible to you? >> well, ther